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      091.On the Fear of Death
     Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives me no concern - when we shall cease to be? I have no wish to have been alive a hundred years ago, or in the reign of Queen Anne. Why should I regret and lay it so much to heart that I shall not be alive a hundred years hence, in the reign of I cannot tell whom?
     也许克服对死亡恐惧的最好方法是想一想,人生有始也就必 有终。在过去一段时期我们并不存在:这一事实并未让我 们担心过——那为什么我们还要为了有一天将不存在而感到困 扰呢?我既然不期望活在一百年之前,或是生活在安妮女王统 治的时代,我何以要因为不能活在一百年以后说不出谁统治的 时代,深感遗憾而耿耿于怀呢?
     To die is only to be as we were born; yet no one feels any remorse, or regret, or repugnance, in contemplating this last idea. It is rather a relief and disburdening of the mind; then; we were not called to appear upon the stage of life, to wear robes or tatters, to laugh or cry, be hooted or applauded; we had lain perdu all this while, snug out of harm's way; of centuries without wanting to be waked up; at peace and free from care, in a long nonage, in a sleep deeper and calmer than that of infancy, And the worst that we dread is, after a short fretful, feverish being, after vain hopes, and idle fears, to sink to final repose again, the troubled dream of life!
     死亡只不过是恢复到生前状况而已。当我们在思忖这个新 观念时,没有人会感到一丝丝的懊悔、遗憾或是厌烦,反而感到 心灵的舒缓慰藉和如释重负。我们在生前仿佛在度假一般:我 们没有被召唤而出现在人生舞台上,穿着华贵的礼袍或褴褛的 衣衫、大笑或是哭嚎、被人呵斥或是接受喝彩;相反地,我们埋伏 了很久很久,安详自在而且远离伤害,熟睡千百个世纪也不愿意 被唤醒,平和惬意而无忧无虑,长期处于胚胎阶段,远比婴儿时 期睡得更为深沉和静谧,并被最轻柔和最细致的尘埃所包裹着。 而最糟糕的是,我们担心在短暂的烦躁和狂热的生存之后,在空 虚的期盼以及无谓的恐惧之后,再度沉入最终的长眠,而忘却了 人生烦恼痛苦的梦境。
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